Serving a tasty mix of time management and hidden-object discovery, Go-Go Gourmet brings its own dash of cookery craziness to the table for those hungering for some pulse-pounding, restauranteuring action. What’s its recipe for success? Don your apron, grab your Ginsu Knives and follow along!

As the story unfolds, Gramps Henry is searching for of the world’s hottest chili recipe, leaving you, his niece Ginger, with a dilapidated eatery to renovate and a blank cookbook to fill. Accomplishing this feat requires both cash and experience, acquired under the tutelage of six local culinary kingfish. Pay your dues as you conjure over 120 gastronomic pleasures, while completing more than two-dozen repairs and upgrades to your bistro, and you’ll soon be a Master Chef.

Go-Go Gourmet combines the best elements of time management diversions like the Diner Dash and Cake Mania series with those of hidden object favorites exemplified by the Mystery Case Files games into a unique restaurant simulation. However, becoming a Master Chef is no simple matter. First, you have limited time to serve your patrons. Customers pop in one at a time to place their food orders, but quickly backlog waiting while you to whip together their meals. Up to three clients will stand in line, but dally in delivering your diligently prepared delicacies and they’ll leave in a huff along with their cash and your high scores.

Next, each recipe calls for specific ingredients, and this is where the seek-and-find element comes into play. Foods and condiments such as ground beef, bacon, fish, eggs, milk, onions, bread, cheese, apples, lettuce, cucumbers, ketchup, mayonnaise and more are strewn around each kitchen, a few partly hidden behind another object or “disguised” in some fashion. And, they’re almost never in the exact same location from level to level.

Plus, it doesn’t take long before the sheer number of ingredients makes locating what you need a problem. Not sure of an item’s identity? Leave your pointer over it momentarily and a description will appear. However, this wastes valuable time. If you’re really stumped, you can employ Go-Go Gourmet‘s hint mechanism to locate the next ingredient, but it needs to replenish itself before being used again. Add the complexity of new recipes and ingredients constantly being added, and the action becomes frantic and confusing quickly.

What can you expect in the way of culinary delights? It begins with simple fare like Hotdogs. Grab a wiener, boil it, and stick it in a bun along with some mustard and, “Voila!” More difficult concoctions such as Honey Glazed Ham take a bit more preparation. It requires you to roast some potatoes and carrots, slice a pineapple, and then add the ham, honey and spices. Other recipes are even more involved.

And, did you catch the parts about boiling and roasting? Recipes not only require specific ingredients; they demand exact preparation. Each kitchen has an oven, stovetop with frying pans and pots, food processor and microwave all employed in preparing orders. Thus, you need to keep track of ingredients and preparation method. For instance, you can’t broil or bake in a frying pan or fry, boil or sauté in the oven.

As for local dining establishments, they include Chuck’s Wagon, Monty’s Full English, The Captain’s Quarters, Leon’s Parisian Palace, Vegetarian’s Delight, Hiro’s Pan-Asian Cuisine and, of course, Ginger’s Kitchen. Each has its own theme and range of food selections.

Topping the list of Go-Go Gourmet‘s culinary best are its innovative gameplay, visually-appealing graphics and interesting food concoctions. Levels can be replayed to improve your score, the cookbook’s available for examination any time and periodic rewards are given for achievements like fast service, cooking skill and culinary experience. Upgrades to your bistro include new flooring and windows, additional tables and chairs, and more. Bonus levels consist of collecting items on an ingredients list. The more quickly you collect them, the higher your score.

Of course, you’ll find a few greasy spoons here. While occasionally humorous and mostly well written, the storyline is average fare. Moreover, gameplay is predominantly the same from start to finish once you get going. It’s just more brain-dizzying, difficult and frantic the further you advance. More problematic, however, were issues with a “sticking” mouse pointer that slowed up food prep and a sense that play would benefit by adding an alternate play mode.

Still, if the above has whet your appetite for Go-Go Gourmet, that’s understandable. It’s an engaging game with an extensive menu for fans of time-management and object-hunting genres. The action is fast and furious, but the savor lingers on.